While there is no denying that a newborn is precious, bringing one home can sometimes be downright overwhelming. With so much on the line, you want to make sure that you do everything you can to give her the best care possible. Sometimes the best feeding practices can seem confusing. You may be concerned if your newborn won’t stop eating.
Determining just how much your newborn should eat can feel like a balancing act sometimes. When all the parenting books out there give you different answers to your questions, you may not have a clear picture of what is best. In this article, I have done a lot of research into trustworthy sources to provide you with the best, current advice I could find.
How To Know if Your Newborn is Hungry
While this one might seem like a no-brainer to seasoned mothers, new moms are often faced with this question. After all, not all newborns give the obvious cry of hunger. If you are wondering which signs to look for, check this list out:
Putting her hands to her mouth
Rooting (or moving head and mouth in search of breasts)
Sucking on hands or objects
Sticking out tongue
It is worth noting that just because your baby cries or sucks on her hands, it does not necessarily mean she is hungry. Sometimes your baby may just need to be changed or snuggled.
How Much Should a Newborn Eat?
All babies will ultimately have their own eating habits, but some may have small and frequent snacks while others may prefer eating large amounts less often. As she grows, she will probably lean more towards eating larger amounts and going longer in between feedings. The following guidelines are generic estimates.
1. Formula Fed
Most newborns will eat between half of an ounce and 2 ounces per feeding and will eat every 2 to 3 hours (or about 8 times every 24 hours).
A newborn needs to nurse around 12 times per day with each nursing session lasting between 20 and 40 minutes. Breastfed babies tend to eat more than formula fed babies because they digest the breast milk much quicker than formula.
What is Cluster Feeding?
Cluster feeding is just another way of saying your baby is eating a lot or very often in a short period of time.
Private-practice lactation consultant, Leigh Anne O'Connor explains how cluster feeding is different from regular feeding sessions. She explains how cluster feeding occurs when the baby is nursing every 45 minutes or every hour, several times in a roll.
O'Connor explains that this is normal and helps the breasts establish a healthy milk supply. Cluster feeding also makes sure the newborn is getting adequate milk and helps the breasts create more milk.
Is it Normal When Your Newborn Won’t Stop Eating
Cluster feeding is completely normal and necessary to help your breasts empty out the hindmilk, which forces the breasts to produce more milk.
Again, I would like to point out that not all babies eat the same. Some may cluster feed while others may not eat so much or so often. Keep Your Sanity
What a relief. Cluster feeding is a normal part of your newborn's feeding routine and there is not a lot to worry about here. Even though it may feel exhausting and overwhelming you should not interfere with your newborn's natural feeding routine.
When mothers do decide to disrupt the natural process of cluster feeding by supplementing the baby's eating needs with formula, she can cause the breasts to stop producing enough milk to feed the baby.
When to Call The Pediatrician
While cluster feeding is normal in the previously mentioned quantities and frequencies, a baby can eat too much. If your baby is constantly hungry and never seems satisfied and content between feeding, she may have a feeding or nutritional issue that needs to be checked by a pediatrician.
It is almost impossible to overfeed your baby. If your pediatrician says she is healthy and gaining weight, you can assume that she is eating just the amount she needs. Babies have a built-in self-regulation system: When they're hungry, they eat, and when their full, they stop.
If you have any concerns about how much your newborn is eating, how often she is eating, or how her demeanor seems between sessions, you should contact her pediatrician right away.
How to Take Care of Yourself While Feeding or Nursing
In order to be the best parent you can be, you need to make sure you are taking care of yourself. A baby can pick up on her parent being stressed out or tired. If your baby senses that you are not well, she may not eat properly
Relax. Try to get as much rest and relaxation between feedings as you can. This is especially essential if you are breastfeeding as stress can reduce the amount of milk that your breasts produce.
Practice good hygiene. Always wash your hands before touching your breasts. Keep yourself clean by washing your breasts and nipples every day in warm water. Avoid using soaps which can dry out your breast skin.
Wear a supportive nursing bra. Choose a nursing bra that fits well and provides plenty of support. Look for a bra made out of a breathable fabric.
Moisturize your nipples. After nursing your baby, rub some of your breast milk on your nipples to moisturize them, then let them air dry. Alternatively, you can use a nipple cream.
Learn the correct way to remove your newborn from your nipples. Instead of just pulling her head away, insert your finger into the corner of her mouth in order to gently break the suction between your nipple and her mouth.
To Wrap Up...
As you can see, it is not a cause for major concern if your newborn won’t stop eating. You should now have a better understand of how to tell if your baby’s eating habits are normal, when to worry, and how to take care of yourself as you take care of your baby.